Healthcare professionals walked off the job at facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to protest years of subpar pay
© Getty Images / Andy Barton
More than 100,000 nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland walked off the job on Thursday in the largest strike in the 106-year history of their union, the Royal College of Nursing.
According to Sky News, about a quarter of hospitals and community teams in England, all trusts in Northern Ireland, and all but one health board in Wales are taking part in the industrial action, which is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.
British nurses have reached a “crisis point,” leaving them no choice but to strike, RCN committee chair Denise Kelly told Sky. Citing “years of real-terms pay cuts,” a multi-year public-sector pay freeze, and the runaway cost of living, the nurses are demanding a 19% pay rise – the inflation rate plus five points.
The government has offered a pay increase of just 4.5% for most nurses, with those at the lower end of the pay scale receiving up to 9%. A spokesman for PM Rishi Sunak called the offer “fair and reasonable” on Thursday, pointing out that nurses had gotten a 3% bump last year.